Thursday, October 16, 2008

China Trip - Day 3

I didn't blog last night so I'm up this morning to fill you in on our third exciting day in China.

We started out the day by heading over to a local Christian church where we stuffed all the house shoes into bags for the nursing home seniors. What was really cool is that some of the local church members helped us. It was a real joint effort.

The outside of the church...



The inside of the church...



Here we are with all the completed bags...



We then headed over to the nursing home which is sponsored by one of the local churches. The residents were very happy to see visitors, as any nursing home resident would be. I think the fact that we had come such a long way meant a lot to them. We hugged a lot of people and passed out the gifts. As I met the residents, our interpreter would help me find out each person's name which I would try and say. It made for a lot of smiles! Man, I just love the Chinese language. What was also funny is that our interpreter would introduce me as "Mark-UH!" with an emphasis on the second syllable as if you were karate chopping while saying it. It's how they pronounce my name in Chinese. So a new nickname is born.

The residents seemed very happy and well cared for. As we entered the building, they had congregated in order to welcome us. They gave us a huge standing ovation. There were moments that moved me to tears. And to think that we have the same opportunity back home. How many lonely seniors are shut up in nursing homes waiting for us to visit?

One more funny story from this visit. The nursing home is right next to a school. As we were walking up the stairs to the fourth floor, the students who were outside for recess noticed me and started waving. Tall, skinny white guys are a novelty in Changsha. Anyway, so I waved and said, "Nihow!" They all waved back at me and said "Hello!" It was something I'll always remember. I love that America and China are such good friends.

The nursing home...



One of our friends introduces us...



Our good friend, Paul, was enjoying the day...



Me and some of the residents...



The students at recess...



Thought this was a cool picture of Marie. She is a natural photographer...



Pat and one of the residents...



This experience was particularly meaningful for Cathy...



Upon leaving the nursing home, it was time for lunch. We ate at yet another wonderful Chinese restaurant. The hospitality here is second to none. We ate some familiar dishes like fried rice along with some new entrees I had never experienced...

Found Nemo...



Pig's feet was quite good once I plucked up the courage to try it...



A chicken head...



Me eating a chicken head. CLUCK...



They have this juice here that I simply must find in the states...



We are all stuffed at this point...



Give me some of that rice!!!



We then went to a local book market where we met the director of a school for deaf children. We wanted to purchase educational materials for these remarkable children. In China, they do not teach the children sign language. Instead, they teach them to read lips and speak. It's quite extraordinary.

The children were sweet, sweet, sweet. They loved it when Marie and I took their picture with our digital cameras and then showed them their photograph. They range in age from 2-7 years old at this particular school.

Shopping, shopping, I love shopping...



Taking the books to the school...



The school values one on one teaching...



Marie showing the boys and girls their picture...



Such beautiful children...



Me and the kiddos...



For dinner, we went to a traditional Chinese tea room. I had the Jasmine tea which was great. I also had more rice. It has become a constant joke with my companions. In the words of Keifer Sutherland from "The Lost Boys" - "You don't like rice? Tell me something, Michael, how could a billion Chinese people be wrong?" We played Mahjong which was an absolute blast. For the record we did NOT gamble. We just played for fun. I'm buying a set and bringing it home. Get ready, Celorias.

A Mahjong table...



Pat's winning hand...



My winning hand...



An intense game, this Mahjong...



And finally, Pat thinks she's Jesus...



Time to start a new day!

3 comments:

The Panni Family said...

A chicken head? Are you NUTS?? I would have asked where the nearest McDonalds was!!!!!

Dona Watson said...

Mark,
Thank you for sharing your adventures. I am truly enjoying hearing about your days and seeing the pictures -- I skipped past Nemo and the chicken head pretty fast though.
Dona

Anonymous said...

So glad you found Nemo.

Bea